While some areas of Israel were suitable for farming, other regions were better suited to raise sheep and goats. Most shepherds lived in or near the wilderness, an area with little fertile ground but just enough grass to sustain their flocks. Israel's roots were in the wilderness and shepherding lifestyle, and biblical writers often used shepherd imagery to describe God.
Around the Sea of Galilee, fishermen caught various species of freshwater fish. Their job was difficult, fishing year-round in the heat of the summer and the cold of winter, often at night. But by New Testament times, a thriving fishing industry had developed.
Fishing and shepherding accounted for a large part of Israel's animal husbandry activities. But in a few places, beef cattle were also raised during biblical times. Doves and other birds were also sold, often for use in temple sacrifices.